Lesley Blanch pillories well-bred, seemingly charming individuals who behave exceedingly badly, and exposes their vices, in the satirical vein of Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh. The governing class is shown to be decadent and depraved.
When East meet West: the British India of the 1850’s is recreated, where representatives of Victoria’s England preside uneasily over the glittering remnants of the Moghul Empire.
The Nine Tiger Man is a satirical romance involving a Maharajah’s heir, a Viscount’s daughter and an uninhibited chambermaid who sample one another’s environments and are never the same again.
Lesley Blanch’s only novel was written while in Rajasthan: “I had pulled a ligament in my leg and had to stay on an island in Jaipur. You could hear the leopards coughing at dusk in the far hills, and the parakeets flew around turning the sky green. One day I saw what I thought was a log, but it was a crocodile. I had heard the story of a group of English women being put on that island during the Mutiny and not daring to escape because of the crocodiles – they were just stuck there, with no news, and fearing the worst. From that I imagined the whole novel.”
TERENCE RATTIGAN, (scriptwriter for George Cukor’s unfinished feature film, 20th Century Fox): “Romantic, outrageous, savage and comic . . . It is the purest ironic comedy, almost, let’s face it, black”
OBSERVER: “An outrageous nineteenth-century romance . . . the languishing Lady Florence and her down-to-earth maid fall enjoyable prey to the lusts of a Maharaja’s favourite during the Sepoy Mutiny . . . a mocking confrontation of the attitudes of Clarissa and Fanny Hill set against an exotically sensuous Indian background”
DAILY MAIL: “Cynical, sensual, amusing”
SUNDAY TELEGRAPH: “Written with panache, high spirits and a faultless control of plot, timing and that often uncontrollable commodity, fun”
REBECCA WEST: “Exquisite”
SUNDAY EXPRESS: “It is both delightful and utterly outrageous. Inevitably it will be a huge success . . . the unique charm of this novel lies in its subtle shifts from mood to mood, from romance to satire, to tragedy, to realism”
Fiction. Collins, 1965.
UK edition: BookBlast ePublishing, 2015. 160 pages ISBN 978-0993092749
French edition. Robert Laffont, 1976 (OP)